The Italian Vice Minister for Economic Development, Claudio de Vincenti, opened the event and emphasised the strategic importance of the SGC and stressed TAP’s role as an enabler of the gas infrastructure development in the entire Balkan region. De Vincenti re-affirmed Italy’s support for the TAP project, underlining its contribution to energy security and diversification.
The Head of the Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the European Union, His Excellency Ambassador Fuad Isgandarov underlined the SGC's strategic role in the European supply security architecture. His Excellency also sent a message of the growing need to recognise Azerbaijan as a strategic partner for the EU.
In his keynote speech, the European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, emphasised the significance of the SGC and underlined the need for the continued momentum. Commissioner Šefčovič mentioned his recent trip to Azerbaijan and the idea of establishing a SGC platform to discuss SGC challenges and ways to overcome them.
SOCAR´s Vice-President on Investments and Marketing, Elshad Nasirov, underlined Azerbaijan’s key role in both bringing new gas volumes and opening a new transportation route to the EU. Nasirov emphasised that, 10 bcm/a from Shah Deniz II, destined for the European consumers, is only the tip of Azerbaijan’s potential export capacity and that SGC will be able to accommodate additional volumes from the Caspian region. VP Nasirov concluded that SOCAR is interested in further investments in the European economy and, with the right signals, the EC will find Azerbaijan by its side in helping it to deliver the €315 billion investment package promised to the European taxpayers.
BP Vice President for the Southern Gas Corridor, Joe Murphy, enlarged on the good progress made upstream and stressed that the project remains on track for bringing first gas to Europe in 2020.
TAP Managing Director, Kjetil Tungland, confirmed that the construction of the project is scheduled to begin in early 2016. To facilitate this stage, TAP will begin the building and refurbishment of access roads and bridges in Albania in early 2015. Tungland also underscored the opportunities TAP provides towards boosting interconnectivity in South East Europe. “TAP is important not only for the region but for the entire Europe,” Tungland concluded.